BOB MARLEY MEMORABILIA: THE 10 MOST VALUABLE ITEMS EVER SOLD
The 10 most valuable pieces of memorabilia ever sold from the legendary reggae artist Bob Marley
10) Autographed postcard and dreadlock
This promotional postcard for the 1980 Uprising album was signed by Marley and two members of the Wailers at an after-party following a concert in London. Bearing the inscriptions “One Love Rasta Bob Marley”, “All The Best Neville Brown” and “One Love Sis Judith”, the card was offered with a piece of Marley’s dreadlock which he cut off and gave to the fan along with his signature. The two items sold together at Christie’s in April 2003 for $4,115.
9) Autographed copy of Exodus
Marley recorded his 1977 album ‘Exodus’ whilst in exile in London, having survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica in December 1976. Marley signed this copy of the album for a fan after meeting her at a football match in London, football being the singer’s great love after music.The album cover bears the autograph and inscription “Love Rasta Fari Live, Bob Marley… Basil and Marilyn, Love Rasta, Bob Marley”. It sold at Christie’s in July 2008 for $4,205.
8) Uprising original album artwork
This is the original ink and watercolour artwork created by Neville Garrick for the cover of Marley’s final album ‘Uprising’, released in 1980. The album, which is regarded as Marley’s most personal and religious record, featured the classic songs ‘Could You Be Loved’ and ‘Redemption Song’. The image was also used by the band on promotional material including postcards. The original illustration sold at Christie’s in New York in December 2006 for $6,000.
7) Denim work shirt
This blue denim work shirt was worn by Marley during the 1980 ‘Uprising’ tour, the final tour of his life which travelled across Europe and the United States. A photograph of Marley stepping off a bus and wearing the shirt features amongst the artwork for the compilation album ‘Songs of Freedom’. The shirt sold at Christie’s in New York in 1998 for $6,900.
6) Autographed 1980 tour program
This illustrated souvenir program dates from Bob Marley and the Wailers Uprising Tour of 1980, and bears signatures and inscriptions from all the band members on its centrefold photograph. The pages read: “The Wailers.. Carlton Barrett..The Son of Jah; Seeco; All the best, love Bob Marley; Wailers..Al Anderson; One love from Junior; Family Man Barrett; Rasta Tyrone Downie; Earl Lindo on organ & clarinet”. This rare fully signed tour program sold at Christie’s in July 2008 for $7,916.
5) Handwritten ‘Ambush in the Night’ lyrics
This sheet featured Marley’s partial handwritten lyrics to the song ‘Ambush in the Night’, a strong political track from the 1979 album ‘Survival’ considered one of the signer’s finest compositions. The working lyrics included altered and erased lines: “Ambush in the Night they tryin to capture me Ambush in the Night ("political strategy" crossed out) what a dirty strategy Ambush in the Night ("still say we got to be free" crossed out) Caused by Society...See them fighting for power But they know not the hour can’t stop Prophecy.” The lyrics sold at Christie’s in New York in February 1998 for $10,120.
4) Autographed and inscribed ‘Rasta’ card
This Toshiba Records card bears a rare Marley signature and a unique inscription, which reads: “Rasta / One Love / One Heart / One Aim / Bob Marley Wailers”. The card sold at Heritage Auctions in October 2007 for $10,157.
3) Acoustic guitar
This 1972 Guild F112 acoustic 12-string guitar was owned by Junior Marvin, lead guitarist for the Wailers, and used by Marley to record two songs on the 1978 album Kaya - 'Is This Love?' and 'Time Will Tell'. Following Marley’s death in 1981 Marvin took over as the band’s lead singer and used the guitar on stage extensively throughout the following two decades. It sold at a Christie’s auction in New York in November 2003 for $15,535.
2) ‘Bronx Jam’ cassette tape
In the late 1960s, before he turned his attentions to reggae, Marley had ambitions to become an R&B singer in the U.S. He visited New York in 1968, and worked with songwriter and future member of the group The Coasters Jimmy Norman to produce a recording of eight songs – all of which Marley would later release in altered forms later in his career. The songs were recorded on a simple home tape machine at Norman’s Bronx apartment, and the cassette remained in his possession for years. Not realising the future value of the songs, he also added recordings of Coasters songs to the tape – thankfully without taping over Marley’s tracks in the process. In December 2002 the previously unheard tape crossed the auction block at Christie’s in New York, where it sold for $26,290.
1) Notebook containing hand-written lyrics
This notebook formerly belonged to Neville Garrick, former art director to Bob Marley and the Wailers, and contained numerous pages of Marley’s hand-written lyrics and set lists. These included 14 lines of preliminary lyrics for ‘Satisfy My Soul’; incomplete preliminary lyrics for ‘Guiltiness’; and two pages of track listings for live sets. The notebook also featured notes by Garrick himself including lyrics to famous Marley songs, set lists for rehearsals and concerts on the 1978 Kaya Tour, and hand-drawn stage lighting diagrams. The notebook was sold at Christie’s in December 2006 for $72,000.(Images: Christie's / Heritage Auctions)